Running Guide: Sydney, Australia
March 20, 2017
by Peter Adams
Sydney is one of the most iconic cities in the world. From the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House, infamous beaches and grassy parklands, running or jogging is a great way to get out and explore sides of the city you might miss by hitting the public transport routes. Sydneysiders are notoriously active and thus have developed and discovered a host of great running routes in and around the city
Surrounded by beaches and islands, coastal runs and walks in Sydney are extremely popular with both locals and tourists alike. With mazy bush runs, sandy beach trails and stunning sea views, hitting the coastline is a great way to take in some fresh air and get some miles in your legs!
Manly to Spit Bridge (15km)
Jump on the ferry from Circular Quays ($8) and make your way toward Manly, a small beachside suburb on the North shore famous for its surf culture and quirky eateries. Running west along the coastline, through Balgowlah Heights and toward The Spit Bridge, this bush run stretches over 15km (return) with a decent incline mid-route. Alternatively, cut the run at 7.5km and catch the bus back to the south side from Spit!
Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach (7.5km)
Located east of the CBD, Bondi Beach is home to the oldest lifesaving club in the world, whilst a kilometre of white sand, waterfront bars and restaurants and regular surf competitions make it easy to see why it’s so popular with tourists and locals alike. Whilst many weekend visitors enjoy lazily meandering down the coastal footpaths toward Coogee Beach, the route also serves as a hotspot for avid runners due to it’s testing gradients, whale watching spots and sea breeze. This 7.5km route will take you up and through the infamous Bondi Icebergs ($6.50) and Bronte baths’ rock pools, as well as beaches Tamarama and Clovelly before finally arriving in the convivial suburb of Coogee. With parking an expensive minefield around Bondi at peak times, be sure to catch the bus or add a few kilometres to your route and set your Strava from your doorstep.
Cremorne Point (3km)
A 15-minute ferry ride from Circular Quay ($5.75), Cremorne Point is a classic north shore running route for Sydneysiders. A shady, narrowing walking path with stunning bay views, this 3km trail is most flat despite a tough gradient at the north of the loop. Similar to the Manly to Spit route, you can always head west around Karraba Point and toward Kirribilli, ending your run crossing over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and into the CBD.
Australia’s largest city, Sydney and its inner suburbs boast over 4 million inhabitants, all living in and amongst some of the most famous architecture in the world and in turn, some of the greatest running routes going.
Iron Cove Bay (7km)
Iron Cove Bay offers a pacey, paved 7km loop around the Parramatta River, west of Rozelle. This super flat running route is popular with morning joggers before catching trains, buses and ferries into the city. However, hit the route in the evenings to enjoy stretching your legs beneath a sky of beaming fairy lights and views of Cockatoo, Schnapper and Rodd Islands.
Sydney Harbour Bridge (12km)
With a shadow of a doubt, the most popular running route in the city is that which takes you from the Botanical Gardens in the CBD, around Farm Cove and the Opera House, before guiding you over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and onto the north shore. The best views of the city can be seen throughout a stunning 12km trail starting at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and curving around Farm Cove towards the Opera House. Negotiating the swarms of tourists around the Circular Quay can be problematic; however, there is no doubt that crossing the Bridge into Kirribilli as the sunsets is an unparalleled experience for runners. Dawes Point, Bangaroo Reserve, Darling Harbour, Darling Harbour and Luna Park are all only a few kilometres away from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, so mix up your route and throw in a few more destinations to see even more of the city.
West of Darling Harbour, Pyrmont was once famous for dominating Sydney’s waterfront with factories and shipbuilding yards, the suburb transformed in the 90’s to become Sydney’s most densely populated suburb. Starting at the Pyrmont Bridge, head anticlockwise through the Pyrmont Bay Park, past the Star Casino and around Johnstons Bay for a spectacular view of yachts, boats, cruise liners and not to mention, both the Anzac and Harbour bridges. The 5.5km route will test your calves before you hit the infamous Sydney Fish Market before finishing up back on the water at Darling Harbour.
Centennial Park (3.7km)
Getting away from hustle and bustle of Sydney central, head south-west to find Centennial Park, one of the city’s most beautiful parklands. A 3.7km loop under pine and oak trees, around ponds, gardens, sporting fields and heritage buildings, it is easy to see why the trail is so coveted by runners, walkers and cyclists. Just a stones-throw from the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Allianz Arena and Moore Park, Centennial Park covers over 180 hectares of land, situated right between Bondi and the CBD. Also, with the Parklands Equestrian Centre just over the road, don’t be surprised if you find a pony is setting your pace as you make your way around the route!
So what are you waiting for? Sydney is a fantastic city filled with hilly inner suburbs, scenic coastal trails, golden beaches and iconic inner city architecture, so lace up and pound some pavement to discover the treats Sydney has to offer runners.
There is always a host of running events going on across Sydney and it’s surrounding suburbs. Check out Sydney’s Running Calendar for more information.
Every weekend across various locations: ParkRun 5km
March 21, 2017: Sydney Morning Herald Sydney Half Marathon
August 9, 2017: The Sun Herald City2Surf 15km
September 17, 2017: Blackmores Sydney Marathon